Bookish Discussion · Bookish List

Beware These LIES You May Have Heard About Reading

Hey everyone, it’s Sabrina!  I know this title might sound alarming, but I promise today’s post is a mostly light-hearted one.  I’m talking about all the things that people have said to me about books and reading that are simply not true – I’m sure you’ll have heard a lot of these too!  Let’s get into it and bust some of these myths 🙂

“You can’t call yourself a reader if you haven’t read x book!”

WHO SAID IT:  I was going on camp with my university several years ago, and the girl sitting next to me on the bus told me that if I hadn’t read Eragon (of all things!) there was no way I could consider myself a reader.  I laughed, but the next few hours on the bus were slightly uncomfortable.

WHY IT’S A LIE:  It is a very close-minded perspective that doesn’t consider barriers to reading or account for different tastes.  Not everyone has the interest, access or time to read all popular books – and that is, obviously, totally fine!  You are a reader no matter what books you decide to pick up.

“You have too many books”
“You don’t have enough books”

WHO SAID IT: My mum has told me plenty of times when I am out shopping that I have plenty of books and I do not need any more.  I am the only one who has told myself that I don’t have enough books – it’s something I still have to work to reject.

WHY IT’S A LIE: There is no mystical correct number of books for one person to own.  Of course it is wonderful to be able to support authors by purchasing their books, but it helps them out when you borrow from the library too – and I am a big advocate of libraries, as that is where I get most of my books.  I understand that it’s easy to feel like you’re not buying enough when you consume the content of people that own a large collection, but it doesn’t make you any less valid.  As long as you’re not pirating books, I support your book collection!

“YA is only for kids”

WHO SAID IT: I’ve seen multiple internet articles that take this point of view – they seem to be especially prevalent around the time YA book-to-movie adaptations are released.

WHY IT’S A LIE:  The key word here is “only”.  Yes, I believe that young adults should be the primary target audience for YA books (after all, that is their purpose), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed or otherwise valued by people outside that narrow age range.  My parents’ love for the entire Twilight franchise is proof enough of that, lol.

“Audiobooks don’t count as reading”
“Graphic novels don’t count as reading”
“Short books don’t count as reading”

WHO SAID IT:  The number one culprit of saying these things in my life?  My dad.  Every time I’m reading a book that’s not in a traditional format, he scoffs and tells me it doesn’t count. He’s not seriously mocking me, so no hate in the comments 😉 , but it never fails to get me a little riled up.  The second culprit is none other than Twitter – and as I’m afraid I’ll descend into a huge rant about Twitter if I elaborate on that, I’m going to stop here.

WHY IT’S A LIE:  Similarly to the first lie in this list, this is a narrow point of view to take that doesn’t consider accessibility or taste.  As long as you’ve consumed a book – no matter what format – you are reading!

“Classics are all boring”

WHO SAID IT:  Me!  It turns out that I lie to myself all the time and I was especially good at it in high school.

WHY IT’S A LIE:  Sure, sometimes it takes a little effort to get into the writing style of older books, but that doesn’t make them boring.  And, contrary to my past beliefs, not all classics involve war – that’s just the books my high school curriculum decided to include (and that’s a discussion for another day).  In the last few years, I have picked up and really enjoyed a few classics – definitive proof that this is a myth.

“Reading fantasy is pointless”

WHO SAID IT:  My high school nemesis, it seemed to me, would say anything she could to try and make me feel bad about myself – including this.  Fortunately, I realised this was her motivation and was, more often than not, able to laugh at her.

WHY IT’S A LIE:  I love fantasy, and that alone is reason enough to read it.  On top of this, it’s just as likely that you will gain a deeper insight into the world from fantasy (or sci-fi for that matter) as you will from contemporary or literary fiction.

And that’s that – myths BUSTED.  I noticed while putting this together that most of these lies have a big thing in common – they are said by someone who wants to inflate their own sense of superiority.  I’m sure they know this deep down but there is no reading habit you can adopt that makes you better or more deserving than another person.  If you’ve had any of these sorts of comments directed at you, I hope you didn’t take them to heart.  And, if you’ve ever taken part in spreading these lies (like me!), I hope you have since seen the light 😛

What do you think?

Have you heard any of these lies before?  Or any others?  Also, did/do you have a high school nemesis? Let me know in the comments!


27 thoughts on “Beware These LIES You May Have Heard About Reading

  1. This is such an awesome post!
    Who can ever have enough books?!?
    I love fantasy too, but haters gonna hate, I guess.
    Also it’s gonna take a lot of persuasion to get my out of YA, I’m probably getting near the end of the “traditional” YA part of my life, but oh well. I’ll read them anyway.
    – Emma 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read YA, graphic novels, listen to audiobooks and usually veer from the Best Seller lists so I get all of this with a heaping of extra judgement for reading romance lol

    Most of it comes from my mother in law who thinks it’s *fun* that I read & review that lighter YA but here’s a REAL book that you should read/will like.

    On the other hand – I think I’m wearing off on her a little since she’s started reading and enjoying some YA. Ha

    Just read what brings you joy people and stop judging others.

    Karen @ For What It’s worth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It amazes me how many annoying ideas are perpetuated about something that should be fun. You forgot to include, that reading ebooks isn’t the same as reading a real book. According to book purists, the 470+ books I read last year don’t count.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, I’m still trying to wrap my head around 470+ books in a year! That’s an incredible achievement!
      But, yes – it really is amazing how many annoying ideas there are. I hadn’t heard the ebook one before – that’s especially strange because it is so close to the experience of reading a physical copy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post, Sabrina! I have to admit, I might have said that classics are boring myself. I have yet to find a classic that I enjoy. I just feel like the writing style is a chore for me to read.

    I totally agree that audiobooks, graphic novels etc do count as reading! I have read some amazing graphic novels that could count as fine pieces of literature in my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I absolutely loved this post and you are so right that all of these are lies!!
    People can restrict the definition of what a reader can be and I’ve actually done it to myself by thinking I’m not a reader, I only read X amount of books or I haven’t read that particular book but you are so right that this isn’t the case. You can be a reader in a thousand difference ways.
    I can’t believe people are still debating if audiobooks or graphic novels count as reading because they do!! It just does!!
    Yes I have had the YA debate, I was at the bookshop looking at young adult books which were labelled as teenagers and my dad said ‘you’re not a teenager’ (he said it light hearted as well) but I was like ‘I decide to not see it as a limitation’. You can enjoy any book you want to.
    That fantasy comment hurt me, haha!! I love fantasy and I even wrote a whole post about it but you are right loving it is enough of a reason and you can still get a LOT from the books!!
    I really, REALLY loved this post. Thank you for sharing and I loved the way you set it out!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sophie!
      I have for sure doubted myself for only have read a certain amount of books too. It’s weird to realise we even put restrictions on ourselves!
      Haha yes, exactly! I saw a Twitter thread on audiobooks and honestly, I had no idea some people still thought that way until then.
      ‘I decide not to see it as a limitation’ – I love that!
      Trust me, it hurt me too 😅 Oooh I’ll have to go find that fantasy post and give it a read, it sounds right up my alley 😀
      Thank you again ❤ It means a lot to me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes it is odd how we naturally can restrict ourselves but great when we realise we don’t have to!! 🙂
        I know, it does seem insane because it just is reading!!
        haha yay!!!
        Aww.. thank you (I hope that didn’t seem like a plug for my blog, I just thought I would mention it but thank you taking the time to read my post. That’s so sweet) ❤
        You're very welcome!! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Unfortunately, many of these feel all too familiar… though I will say, the most insane entry on your list is (thankfully!) the one I’ve never heard before! I think if someone tried to tell me that I’m “not a reader unless I’ve read x,” I’d do the same thing, and laugh in their face. I can’t even imagine what sort of books someone would attempt to fill that hole with that would ever make sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great post!! People always tell me that it’s about time I grow out of YA and get into adult literature and I just… lol, no.

    And so, so, so yes to what you said about “You can’t be a reader if you haven’t read x book”! How ridiculous to think that everyone has the same tastes in literature.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This post is so fantastic! I can relate to so many of these falsehoods! You summed it up perfectly, people love feeling superior and pushing their beliefs on others.

    I related super hard to “graphic novels are not books” and “YA is just for kids.” Because I love reading graphic novels, especially middle grade ones, and I adore YA. And what’s wrong with reading about characters that are younger than you? Why does anyone care if my books have no pictures, some pictures, or are made entirely of pictures? Yet, people apparently care, and look at me in shock when I discuss both Pulitzer Prize winning pieces of fiction, and then mention a YA novel that I thought was just as fantastic. I genuinely don’t think genre or age range plays a role in how good a book is. There are terrible adult novels, fantastic YA novels, terrible YA novels, fantastic adult novels, and everything in between.

    Another lie I’ve heard has been “If you don’t read x amount, you aren’t a reader.” I feel like that statement is so hurtful! Slow readers are readers because they read! As a kid I got sick of having to justify that I was a reader by telling people how many books I read the previous year. I just told you I like to read! Isn’t that enough?

    Wow! Apparently I had a lot to say on the subject! I hope you like reading essays! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Malka! I’m so glad you think so. Sad that you can relate to the lies though!

      You are spot on with what you said about genre and age range having nothing to do with quality. I need to get some graphic novel recs from you, because that is something I’m trying to get into more.

      I totally agree that liking to read should be enough! I can’t believe even as a kid people were expecting you to read a certain amount of books to fit their definition of a reader.

      And don’t worry, I love reading essays 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have heard some of these lies and they definitely aren’t true and bother me! My family love to tell me I have too many books, and I know it is all good natured but sometimes it does get to me. Oh, and ALL reading counts as reading and I cannot wait until we get past judging people for what they do or don’t like to read, whichever genre it is, whichever format and however long it is!

    Liked by 1 person

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